31 August 2012

Day 3: 59km around 4tp

Today it was Pedro Garcia from Barcelona again who stunned me. Yesterday he won the day by a lot of kilometers on his own, and also today he kept flying very confidently leading out on his own, while everybody else of us seems to land within 15 minutes when on his own in the blue flat hills in a 30km/h wind. I will ask him tomorrow what kind of trick he uses ;) ¡Congratulaciónes, Pedro, estás volando mejor que los pajaros aqui!
Same same as yesterday - sky blue, base low, wind strong, gaggle unforgiving. Some gaggles even gaggled themselves onto the deck. After lots of discussions about the length of todays task (with 70km nominal distance, we would get low validities with short tasks), task setters Primoz, Tugi and Christian agreed on a small task of 59km around 4 turnpoints. Small did not mean easy- many pilots bombed out, a few had a second launch. Strong cross wind on take of slowed the start down again.
Of course there was a push on already when I took off as 37th pilot. Regina and Uli were hanging on my wires while the strong cross wind kept pulling up my left wing. Luckily the launch marshall, Heather Mull, knows what she is doing. Ive flown about 14 Bogong Cups that she organized, and she always got pilots safely off very difficult launches, so I was positive that I would be fine.
The wind dropped and straightened up just a little bit, enough for me to get into the air. With my tiny wingload on the Moyes LS 3,5s (I don´t take ballast as the landings here are quite difficult) it is tough to fight the headwind and turbulent, broken lift in big gaggles, but at least it is easy for me to climb fast.
Today I was lucky to have been in the right place at the right time. Primoz went right and landed, I went left and just managed to drift along in a zero. Pilots kept landing when they got too low, so I tried to stay as high as possible.
At the 2nd turnpoint, our group caught up with the leading guys Alex, Pedro, Davide and a few more. Mischu (Slo) got impatient, bailed out in front - and landed.
Bit by bit, Roland and I climb-drifted our way past the 3rd turnpoint, but the last one before goal was high up (1730m) and tricky, in the mountains again. Strong wind, no landings.
Alex, Roland, Pedro and Suan had gone out to the front and found a light climb, and I was quite proud when I could call Roland over into a 3m up just to the east of them. Our last thermal before goal was the nicest one of the day and rewarded us for our hard work. This was not pilots fighting each other, but rather friends celebrating a smooth lift up after a long day of hard work! Well, the glide to the last turnpoint and to goal was mainly on the leeside of mountains, so it was anything but smooth, but still we knew that we had it.
Tullio landed just after me, Dan had to work quite hard again through the lee side of the mountain.
Our team is 2nd now after the Italians and in front of the Spanish.
I am happy that I could score a few points for our team today - and I would like to thank Klaus Tänzler from DHV and my team leader Regina for their trust in me. Even though I had a long break after some injuries last year, and even though it was obvious that there are not enough women here to have a new title, they sent me here because they thought I could be helpful for our team and maybe even score for the team. We are all motivated to do our best!
My report in German on the DHV-page.

Task 3: 59km around 4 tp

Today 8 pilots made goal, Alex won the day, probably followed by Pedro, Davide, Suan, Roland, me, Tullio and Dan. Yes, I got into goal, I´ve reached my personal goal: fly safe and score for the team at least once! Won´t be many points today, because nominal distance is set to 70km (?), and a lot of pilots landed early today, tough fighting low above the flat hills with 30km/h wind from NNW again. More after dinner ;)

30 August 2012

Blue sky

A very difficult day with 90km around 3 tp today. Nobody made goal, and barely anybody made the 70km nominal distance. No clouds, but wind again. I had to go 3rd off today and was lucky - I got up above launch and glided away with Suan. We flew until we reached the start circle, then he left me on my own. I was trying to make as much height as possible, which was about 500m above the deck. For a while, I saw Laurent with me, but then I had to try on my own. Only 23km today, at least I landed in a safe place where about 10 noisy little boys were yelling at me, asking for chocolates and cigarettes (???? - Matjaz reported that the kids were indeed smoking where he landed and showed me the photo!) Right, the fairy from the air with chocolates and cigarettes loaded in her harness? I don´t think so...
Luckily Tobi and Uli got to me fast and got me out of the noise. I managed to get all my gear home (I think) without anything broken or ripped off. The kids don´t ask, they just touch everything, a little difficult if you are on your own.
Roland flew furthest of our team today, he was about 20km short of goal, followed by Gerd just before the last turnpoint and Christian and Andre before the 2nd turnpoint. Pedro Garcia from Spain might have won the day with being only 3km short of goal. Many people already bombed out at launch, it was difficult conditions. Primoz landed close to Christian and Andre, I don´t know where Alex and the other Italians got to.
Similar conditions are predicted for tomorrow. I just hope I stayed in the top 25 because I really like that setup place ;)
Alex is leading now, followed by Primoz and Christian Zehetmaier in 3rd, also Roland and Gerd are top 10 now! Results here.

Phone cards in Turkey

In the beginning of the comp, all the pilots and team leaders bought Turkcell sim cards to get Turkish phone numbers, cheaper calls and texts, and better reception.
Unfortunately all the information is in Turkish, also the text messages from Turkcell. Today I figured out that one text might mean that they want the IMEI number of my phone registered or they will lock my phone on Sept 2nd... I asked Tugi, one of the Turkish pilots, and he said my interpretation is correct, and Im not the only pilot with that problem. So they will bring someone from Turkcell to take off today and register everybody´s phone with passport number. It is meant to be a safety against stolen phones.
I had read about this problem online, but when we tried to register our phones, they told us we have to go to a big shop in Kayseri, and we did not have the time to do that. I am curious how this system works exactly, and I hope all our phones will be "freed" soon! (Luckily I brought 3 phones, just in case one or the other has a problem, so I could switch cards...) Having a working mobile phone out here is vital!

29 August 2012

1st task: 87km around 4tp, Primoz 1st

I was honoured to be the first pilot off the Alidag mountain today, I started the European Championships in hang gliding! This also meant that I had to fly 1,5 hrs until the start window finally opened... luckily there were clouds, but it was not that easy to get high and stay there. In the end, I had a good start into the task and flew with the top 12 for quite a while. Quite often I saw Matjaz (SLO) and Antoine Boisselier (FRA), but also Christian, Gerd, Andre and Roland were always in the front pack.
Until the 3rd turnpoint where we had to go directly against an unforgiving, direct headwind of up to 40km/h... not my favourite situation. I had to land about 6km short of the last turnpoint, but it seems like only 4 guys made it around and got to goal: 1st Primoz (SLO), 2nd Alex(ITA), 3rd Christian Zehetmaier (GER) and 4th Walter Mayer (AUT). With Gerd just short of the turnpoint and Roland 3km short of it, I think the team score will look quite good for the first day.
It was fun to go cross/tailwind with the clouds, I wish we would have continued just that way. Most of this country seems to be hills and canyons, and with this wind strength, they can develop quite a lot of turbulence in lower levels and direction changes of 90 degrees are normal. So I was very happy when Suan Selenati (ITA) held up a wind flag for me when I landed in his field. About a minute after my touch down next to a main road, our team car pulled up, Tobi stayed with me and helped me to pack my glider in the strong wind, while Uli went to pick up Andre and returned to get us afterwards. We also stopped to take Roland and Balasz (HUN) with us. Great - my chance to complain to Balasz about his push on launch - he made us go right after the window opened into not exactly the best air yet... I guess I was not the only one who was not so happy about it, just the first one ;)
Cloud base was at 2600m first, rising to 3000m at the ridge between 2nd and 3rd turnpoint. The forecast had been for 3600m. The wind went up from 20km/h to up to 40km/h in the late afternoon, thermals seemed more horizontal than vertical. Results will be here hopefully soon!

There can be rain in Kayseri!

 A cold front went through yesterday in the early evening, and at 6pm it really started raining hard, the temperatures dropped about 10 C immediately, this morning it is rather cold. And we see a lot of clouds, not very high, and a distinctive northerly wind. So we will finally start into the first task of the Europeans.
Yesterday a few guys from our team went to the Turkish Bath, the Hamam, and a larger group went sightseeing in Kayseri. Mosks, city wall, and of course, the big bazaar ;) spices and nuts and dried fruits. Quite often people see us and talk German to us, as they are on a holiday here and live in Germany, or used to live in Germany. Very friendly and helpful people, but still we are aware of quite a reputation of theft too - on the way to Kayseri somebody stole Fredy Bircher´s purse with 800€ in it...

28 August 2012

Day 1: cancelled, very stong wind

 Today the forecast was for 15-25 kt wind from the SW, but we went up and set up anyway, as the wind was not too strong yet on launch. Our take off faces NW, and you can already see the cross wind on the photo. The meteorologist predicted the wind to increase around 3pm all the way to the ground level, which means really bad turbulences - our team assistant Uli already found out about that last night when he landed with his paraglider... Roland found a nice convergence in the air, but on the ground it was marginal in the evening.
Antoine Boisselier, Christian Ciech and me are in the safety committee and we all voted for cancelling the day. This is not exactly flatlands, you always fly over hills and canyons, also there is quite a high ridge with a vulcano to our south, it would be a bit like Föhn turbulence in Bavaria. The predictions for the rest of the week are much better, N wind and less strength.
The guys will go to a Turkish Bath, a Hamam, this afternoon, while Regina, Tobi and I will take a walk through the old city of Kayseri.
I found these cute little girls up on launch and I am trying to convince Antoine and his wife Melanie to leave Louise or Inez with me ;)

27 August 2012

Opening Ceremony/Preparations/Roland goes vulcano

 It is nice to meet all the pilots in the relaxed atmosphere before the opening ceremony and chat to all my friends from around the world, on this photo with Blay Olmos, a young gun pilot from Spain with a good chance to win the Euros - he is used to flying in areas like these here from his home sites in Spain, dry, high, blue!
Christian managed to fix his harness problem, while I went out to find healthy food and juices and little useful things I forgot to be prepared for at least four days of full-on flying. Looks like it´s never unflyable here.
Today, like yesterday, guys went up to over 4000m, yesterday even 5000m. I gave my GoPro to Roland and he flew to the vulcano, the highest peak of this area. Could be Mars as well - it looks great, and he reported that the colours up there are unreal. On the radio he sounded hypoxic to me, talking very slowly and not stopping to talk, but his mate Andre confirmed that Roland always talks like that when something unbelievable happens. Like "I can´t believe it, flying 5km straight line in 3m/s integrated..." I hope we have the same conditions tomorrow!
After a safety briefing, some guys flew the small 56km test task - Wolfi said he did it in 1h15min ;) racing!
They reversed the top 25 pilots, which means - I will be first off the hill in tomorrows launch order, I will be the pilot to open the 2012 European Championships in Kayseri! Many pilots don´t like to go first, I love it ;) keep your fingers crossed that I find good lift, it is only 300m between launch and bomb out ;)
I will cook dinner for my team, especially for our fantastic, voluntary assistant Uli Schid - it is his birthday today! Spelt pasta and a spicy tomato sauce with fresh capsicum, aubergine, zucchini and onion, will be a feast of taste and energy, who wants to join us?

25 August 2012

First flight in Turkey

 The day started slowly with registration. After all the details were done, all papers signed, all turnpoints downloaded, we finally went up the mountain. Luckily the day started really late too, so nobody was in a real hurry. It was very stable again and blue.
I took off at about 3.30 pm and got up to 2500m when we Gerd and Primoz started to glide out towards a turnpoint that we had set, 50km away. First it looked ok, we got another lift up to just above 2000m, but on the high plains we barely ever had more than 400m above the ground. The wind picked up to 25 km/h from NW, lift was slow, small and broken, so we landed after barely 25km. At least it was a nice big field. Some guys landed next to HQ today and overshot the field by quite a bit...
Tomorrow morning: Sprog measuring, then hopefully another flight, and in the evening the opening ceremony!
You can see my flight today here. More photos and my report in German on the DHV page.


The car is loaded with gliders, we are just waiting for registration to open and then we will go up for a flight. Blue sky and sun again.
CIVL has arrived - this morning I saw Flip and John already. Also the Italians are here with the major task force - Alex, Christian, Elio, Davide, Tullio, Suan, Anton, Paolo and Edoardo! A lot of excellent pilots. No woman unfortunately.
Our gliders are stored in a garage at HQ, but there are not just gliders in there ;) somebody is collection old computer screens...

24 August 2012

Getting organized in Kayseri

 After a day of settling in, preparing, unpacking, getting organized, we also went shopping for some fresh fruit and veggies in the evening to prepare dinner for the team. It was amazing how often people stopped and asked us in German if we are from Germany, offering their help to translate, to find things, very friendly, interested and helpful. Even though (or maybe because?) Kayseri is not exactly a tourist destination.
When our team assistant Uli and I started cooking, immediately Ibu helped us chopping onions, peppers and whatever else was there. He is the house keeper of the club house and only speaks Turkish, and as our Turkish is quite limited, we talked with gestures, but understood each other. No problem to prepare a meal for 8 when you have two eager assistants ;) now our batteries are recharged for a nice smooth flight tomorrow.
Big posters are set up all over the city, the effort that our hosts put into the organization is huge! Tomorrow registration starts, on Sunday we celebrate the opening ceremony.

Arriving in Kayseri

 We had a very pleasant late 3 hour flight to Kayseri last night. All our luggage arrived (except for Konrad`s, he flew through Istanbul and his luggage is not here yet...), and it was 4 am by the time we were at the hostel.
It is a great place quite high above the city, we can see launch, and half the pilots and organization are here in the HG/PG club housing (Ive never seen any club house this size anywhere before, I have a cute room with ensuite toilet and shower), the Italian team is in a hotel downtown, the other pilots have free accomodation in another club house in the city. Everybody is really friendly and helpful, even if barely anybody speaks anything but Turkish, so communication is a little basic ;)
 We will go up and check out launch today. Regina reported that the landing field was very rough in the easterly breeze that they had yesterday, very lee side and turbulent. Today it turned to north, which seems the normal direction.
Late tonight, also Roland and Andre will arrive. Good to be here finally. Im going to chill today, after about two hours of sleep, I still feel a little too tired to fly in a new area, but tomorrow should be a perfect day to see this area from above.

23 August 2012

Some thoughts

I am at Munich airport with Gerd and Christian, waiting for our flight to Kayseri. News are that Turkey and the USA are thinking about a plan of a military attack of Syria. I was aware before that Aleppo is only 400 km from Kayseri, and that the civil war is at a new peak in Syria. Also the Kurds are trying to regain their independance in northern Syria as they successfully already did in the Iraq.
We have all different nationalities coming together and flying together in the name of peace, yet I wish we could do more to help find a solution for all the people. Mostly civilians were hurt or killed in Syria, many of the victims were children. It is impossible for me to just happily fly a competition and ignore the complete politic situation.

On the way to Kayseri/Turkey

Today I will start the journey to Anatolia to fly the European Championships in Hang Gliding. You will find more photos and reports on the DHV page. This is the official website.
It looks like quite a few pilots pulled out again. The only women are Francoise, Julia and me, so unfortunately we won´t have a new official women´s title. But at least I can score for our German National Team, which I already confirmed with FAI Jury President Flip Koetsier. Heather will be launch director, and Claudia is FAI steward, together with our team leader Regina we would aleady be six women who could fly...
It sounds like the first part of our team had a good trip to Turkey and enjoys Kayseri. I can´t wait to get there early tomorrow morning. We are missing quite a few good pilots, like the whole British team, Manfred, Gerolf and Tom from the Austrian team, Natalia from Russia, also we had a change on our team - Jörg had to pull out and instead Konrad Schwab is flying with us.
The race will be interesting with a very strong Italian, French and Slovenian team, but also the Spanish have some wild racers like Blay and Pedro in their team. Anyway, I will keep you updated on Blog, FB and if possible, twitter as well!

22 August 2012

Nagoya, Japan, Timezone GMT +9

The weather in Munich right now is mild compared to what it was in Nagoya last weekend. 38C and very humid. Perfect weather to go for a walk at 3am and enjoy the quite clean air - Nagoya has a lot of parks and trees! Still it felt like in the movie "Lost in Translation"... the sleepless crew and other jet lagged foreigners met in the middle of the night in the gym or walking through the hotel.
In the shops, I found the first "small" can of Red Bull - in the US, the can had to be XL, in Japan it has to be "cute" ;) I like it.
Last preparations for the trip to the European Hang Gliding Championship today, tomorrow I will fly to Kayseri with my team mates Gerd Dönhuber and Christian Zehetmaier.

12 August 2012

Red Bull X-Fighters Munich

Yesterday I met a lot of good friends in the Olympic stadium in Munich to watch the Red Bull X-Fighters. The show was incredible - these daredevils fly completely without wings, not understandable how they do it, how they control those huge jumps, flips, spins and other tricks on their bikes high in the air. An amazing event!

Their next stop will be on Oct. 6th in Sydney, and I can really recommend to watch the show live!

Yesterday Thomas Pages from France won the Munich event, Spanish rider Dany Torres was 2nd and Eigo Sato from Japan 3rd. We were all in awe!

04 August 2012


Last week I helped at the Challenge in Greifenburg. 44 hang glider pilots who were interested in XC flying came to fly together and to learn more about meteorology, flying techniques and the secrets of flying safe and far from Emberger Alm.
Andi Becker hosted the de-briefings in the evenings, Alex Ploner and I talked about how to master landings in unknown areas, Peter Cröninger lectured about take off and landing perfection. Regina, Matthias and Andi did a great job again to get more pilots competent and interested in competitions and XC flying. You can read more on the DHV site (German).

At the same time, Jonny Durand flew a world record in Zapata - congratulations! Flight to a declared goal 561 km - have a look at Tim´s blog.
Also congrats to Kraig Coomber who won the Big Spring US Nationals (results here) on his new Moyes RX 3,5.
In the Altay, Anton Struganov won the Russian Nationals on his brand new Moyes RX 4 - have a look at the beautiful photos on Zhenya´s blog!
At Monte Cucco, Alex Ploner won the competition after 5 rounds. Looks like the weather in Europe slowly gets back to how it should be like!
I need to work work work to make enough time for the European Championships in Turkey. There are lots of thunderstorms around these days in Bavaria, so at least I don´t miss out on too many epic flights. At the challenge, I was rewarded for all the voluntary work with one epic flight of 200km. It wasn´t exactly easy, the conditions this year are already like late summer, very stable until early afternoon. But I haven´t seen that high cloud base in a while, it felt great to be so high above the Austrian and Italian Alps!
Even if Im not around in Germany, you can still take test flights on the great little Moyes RX 3 - just contact Wolfi at Skyline!